To set the stage, entering today's final regular season game the Cleveland Indians (91-60) have a one-game lead over Tampa Bay (90-61) and Texas (90-61). Here are the implications, game times and matchups for what promises to be a wild and wacky Sunday -- with a chance of tie-breakers Monday and even Tuesday.
The Indians can clinch WC1 with a win today at Minnesota. It would be Cleveland's 10th consecutive win and on paper it looks good for the Tribe. Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 3.38 ERA) goes against Scott Diamond (6-12, 5.54 ERA). First pitch is 11:10am PDT.
Meanwhile, Texas and Tampa Bay are fighting for their lives knowing that if one wins and the other loses, the loser's season is over. If they both lose, they will play a one-game tiebreaker tomorrow for WC2 and the right to play the Indians in Wednesday's wild card play-in.
The Rays get the earliest start, so they will be posting a score -- for better or for worse -- that the other teams will see when they take the field. Tampa Bay is at Toronto where the Blue Jays have won the last 2, but the matchup looks good for Tampa Bay: Matt Moore (16-4, 3.23 ERA) vs. Todd Redmond (4-2, 3.77 ERA). First pitch is at 10:07am PDT.
The Rangers host the Angels, trying for their 7th straight win and a 4-game sweep of LAA. The pitching matchup is intriguing: Jason Vargas (9-7, 4.01 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (13-9, 2.82 ERA). First pitch is at
1:05pm (edit: make that 12:05pm PDT -- numbers are harrrrrrrd) at The Ballpark in Arlington.
Oh, one more possibility: Cleveland loses while Texas and Tampa Bay each wins. That's the scenario many are rooting for because it would create a wacky 3-way tie in which Cleveland and Tampa Bay would have a one-game playoff (Monday) to see who lost and played Texas in a one-game playoff (Tuesday) for the right to be WC2 -- to have the one-game WC play-in on Wednesday against Monday's winner. Moar beisbol!!!
Enjoy this truly wild set of Game 162s, which will lead to Game 163 -- and possibly 164 and maybe even 165!